Most of us don’t spend a lot of time reading the Old Testament book of Micah, or for that matter, any of the Bible’s minor prophets. Today’s Biblical question is found in Micah 6:8.
Micah lived about 700 years before Jesus. He ministered in and around Jerusalem during the same time that Isaiah was also there. He was bold and brash! You see, the Jews living in the Southern Kingdom, were walking down a destructive path. They had turned their backs on God, and God wouldn’t put up with their shenanigans forever. Micah announced that judgement was coming!
But get this ... even though the hearts of God’s chosen people were black with sin, they continued to visit the temple, going through the motions, dutifully paying their dues. They were religious, but they weren’t in right relationship with the Loving God.
In Micah’s sixth chapter, God called the nation to defend themselves in His courtroom. God had filed a lawsuit against His own people.
“Hear what the LORD says: Arise, plead your case ... the LORD has an indictment against his people, and he will contend with Israel.” God declared, “O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery” (Micah 6:1-4, ESV).
In response to God’s indictment, Israel asked, “With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6:6-7, ESV).
Whiners! They knew what God wanted, but they were too busy being religious to see past their own noses.
God wasn’t interested in the offering. He was concerned with the heart of the one making the offer.
David sang, “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Do good to Zion ... then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar”
(Psalm 51:16-19, ESV).
Micah answered with a question, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8, NKJV).
There’s the question for today. What does God want from us? Does he require great sums of money? No! Does He demand religious observance? No! Orthodoxy or perfection? No!
Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. That’s all.
Check your heart!